Monday, July 27, 2009

Your Next Winnipeg Business Lunch

My wife and I, on an empty stomach, found ourselves asking the same question we often ask when deciding on where to walk to enjoy some good food on a patio in Winnipeg - Corydon or Osborne Village? However, this day we changed our predictable path and found ourselves wondering around in St. Boniface when we came across what is now our new favorite restaurant.

Les Jasmins De La Tunisie is Winnipeg's only Tunisian restaurant, positioned beautifully at the base of the Esplanade Riel Pedestrian Bridge. The restaurant is run by the Manachou family, and just recently celebrated their one year anniversary back in May of this year.

My wife and I were very unfamiliar with the majority of the items on then menu, but all are well explained, and the owner was quite helpful in providing further information and also wine pairings. Come on... you can't enjoy a meal in Little France without a little red wine.

Unfortunately I did not grab a menu when we left, (and they have no website...?) so I am unable to give the exact names of the meals we had. What I do remember is the appetizer we had called "brik." This is a filo pastry stuffed with tuna, spinach, fresh herbs and an egg. After the first bite, we stared at each other almost like wild dogs knowing we had to share, while each wanting to eat the whole thing ourself, plus a couple more. Truly a taste unlike anything I've had in the city before.

We are both eager to return to try other parts of the menu, and both have plans to bring friends and co-workers. Winnipeg palates rejoice! You will be amazed by the food and charmed by the location and owners. Bon Appetite!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Social Media hits Winnipeg Businesses

I couldn't believe when I read the Free Press and found they published an article promoting social media. There must be a wave of change towering over Winnipeg businesses if the editors at the Free Press have actually surrendered to the demand for more news about new media. Normally, the only information you can find in the Free Press to do with the changing media landscape are ads directing the readers to the various websites they have selling cars and homes. That leads me to an interesting conversation I had with the VP of Corporate Development at Corus Entertainment.

As many of you may have read, Corus lost some $145 million in their last quarter. I spoke with the VP there to understand what they were doing now to try and raise their online presence, considering a large reason for the loss was reportedly because of the shift of consumers and marketing budgets to online. She said they were building some new websites and using their TV and radio stations to promote them. Huh?

It was just reported that there are more users online, but you're choosing not to invest any money to help people find you online? Sounds like a plan... not a good one, but a plan.

If you listen to any Winnipeg businesses advertising on our local radio stations, they all do the same thing - air ads that direct listeners to their website. Ads in the Free Press and The Sun are no different. Yet, if you call anyone of these Winnipeg business owners, most will tell you that they have no budget for marketing online. My second huh? of the blog.

It's called cutting out the middle man. If you know your clients are online, why not put your marketing dollars into making your website visible to them instead of having them try and memorize your web address?

Obviously change is coming to Winnipeg when the most traditional of marketing vehicles publishes the "tricks to tweeting." One can only hope that those grey hairs that read the article will jump on board too.

It's your turn Winnipeg.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Winnipeg Businesses Shift Towards Internet

Businesses in Winnipeg and across Canada continue to move dollars away from traditional media and into the internet as is evidence with Corus Entertainment announcing a third quarter net loss of $145 million. In Winnipeg, Corus owns stations CJOB 68, 99.1 Groove FM and Power 97 FM. The loss was directly related to both the slumping economy and the growing shift in dollars from radio advertising to the internet.

This, and the other countless examples from the thinning Free Press to the fall of CanWest, should have Winnipeg business owners asking themselves: Where am I putting my limited dollars for advertising?

You'd think common sense would come into play when considering this question. With all the press out each week on the struggles felt by traditional media, you need to start taking more time considering if a quarter page ad in the Sun is the best use of your money?

I'm amazed at the number of companies in Winnipeg that still don't have a budget for online marketing. Many have locked themselves into stale Yellow Page campaigns or blown whole budgets doing trade shows. Yet, if I ask them how they look for goods and services many tell me they mainly search online. Those that still use phone books are usually those that worry if they click too many buttons on the computer it will blow up. These owners need to fight through the fear of the unknown and use the smarts that made them leaders in business to recognize that, even if they don't understand computers and the internet, that it is not a fad and that it can help their business.

Over the weekend I was at an anniversary for my Aunt and Uncle and ran into a radio personality who works for 99.1 Groove FM. We began discussing the advertising climate in Winnipeg and she was openly scared for her job. She reported that many people have been laid off or have quit seeing that the future in radio is a complete toss up. She actually had to come off maternity leave early just because of her fear that there may not be a job to come back to if she was away too long.

Personally I don't see the end of radio or newspapers anytime soon; however the playing field has definitely changed. Have you?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Winnipeg Business I Know Where Your Target Market Is

The mystery of where to put your dollars in marketing has always been based on the question, "Where is my target market?"; and - Winnipeg business owners - if you don't know this by now than please continue reading.

As is common, a Winnipeg business owner will set aside a budget specific for marketing. And if you are like most, you naturally gravitate towards the traditional options of the "Free Press vs The Sun; BOB FM vs CITI; or Winnipeg Women Magazine vs Flavours Magazine." But the question still persists, "Is this where my target market is?"

The answer is to quit guessing and embrace the change that is"online search marketing." When a person types in "skechers shoes" on, it's because they are in the market to buy skecher shoes.

There is no wondering if your target audience watches "The Amazing Race" on Wednesday nights to hope they'll catch your ad. There is no fear they may not read the "City and Business" section of the Free Press and miss your sale on men's ties. No my friends, if they type in "men's ties" on and your website is one of the first they see to click to, than once again your 24/7 online salesman has closed a sale.

The times aren't changing, they've changed. The guessing game is over.

It's your turn Winnipeg.